Here’s your crazy fact of the day, apparently Carolina is lights out in the first round. No seriously, they’ve missed like twice in the last 17 years. I had no idea, I was blown away by the caliber of players they’ve drafted. I’m confused why they haven’t been more consistently competitive. But I found a pretty shitty one, don’t worry.
The MASSIVE blemish is Jeff Otah, offensive tackle out of the University of Pittsburgh. Not only did they whiff on this one, they gave up their 2nd round pick in 2008 and their 1st round pick in 2009. This is still known as one of the worst draft trades in recent history.
Otah was viewed as an elite offensive tackle coming out and Carolina was in love with him. Carolina traded up with the Eagles to ensure they got him. To reward them he started 12 games his rookie year, missing 4 due to knee issues. The following season he was recovering from what at that point was thought to be minor knee surgery, he ended up on IR without ever playing a down. He played 4 games the following season before being placed on IR again. He never played another down for Carolina.
Still available when the Panthers picked Otah at 19? Another tackle in Duane Brown who has had the opposite as far as career trajectory goes. Also available were Aqib Talib and Chris Johnson, aka CJ2K. With their 2nd round pick they could have had their pick from DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, and Calais Campbell.
Philadelphia used the 1st rounder in 2009 (19th overall) to select Jeremy Maclin, but Clay Matthews, Alex Mack, Vontae Davis, and Eric Wood were all still on the board. So instead of having a tackle that played 16 games in 3 seasons Carolina could have had the 2017 league leader in sacks (Campbell) and one of the most consistent centers in football (Wood). Or imagine Cam having DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to throw to, talk about a dominant offensive group.
At least the Panthers didn’t get bounced from the playoffs due to lack of offensive firepower or anything like that.